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Riddick appointed to fill Jordan’s seat

GATESVILLE – Althea A. Riddick will get a head start on her political career.

At last week’s scheduled meeting of the Gates County Commissioners, the board voted to appoint Riddick to fill the unexpired term of former Commissioner Henry Jordan. He died Dec. 20 in his Sunbury home following a two-year battle against ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease).

Jordan was in his third, four-year term as a Commissioner, with that seat expiring later this year.

Due to his declining health, Jordan opted not to file last month for reelection to his District 4 seat on the board. Riddick did file for that seat and was the only individual to do so.

Appointments to fill a sudden vacancy on a board of commissioners – whether through death or relocation of an incumbent member – are initially considered by the executive committee of the political party of which the former commissioner was a member. That committee, in turn, makes a recommendation to the commissioners of an individual to fill the unexpired term. However, the commissioners are not bound by the committee’s recommendation.

In the case of the vacancy created by Jordan’s death, the executive committee of the Gates County Democratic Party recommended Riddick.

While Riddick’s recommendation and subsequent appointment were not challenged by the commissioners, there was one other candidate discussed.

“There was some discussion about appointing Commissioner Jordan’s wife, Lorine, to fill the remaining months on his term,” said Ray Freeman, chairman of the county commissioners. “She was always by Henry’s side, especially over the past couple of years when his health started to decline. I felt she was assisting him in reading the material we receive as commissioners and she was up to speed on what the board was doing, the projects we are involved in. It was for that reason that I would have liked to reach out to her to see if she was interested in filling the rest of Henry’s term.”

Freeman added that he did not want to rush Mrs. Jordan into a decision.

“Personally, I wanted to wait until after our first meeting of the year before we appointed someone to fill that seat,” Freeman remarked. “The Democratic Party opted to move forward with naming a replacement and they told me that Mrs. Jordan was approached about filling the seat, but she declined.

“The Democratic Party proceeded and that’s okay; I have no issues with what they did. They did their job and followed the protocol,” Freeman added.

Riddick will be sworn in to the District 4 seat at the next scheduled meeting of the Gates County Commissioners (10 a.m. on Monday, Feb. 3).

In a related matter, Rev. Dr. Claude Odom, pastor at New Middle Swamp Missionary Baptist Church, addressed the commissioners at last week’s meeting. Odom inquired of the possibility of locating a state highway marker on NC 32 near Sunday in memory of Jordan’s public service.

The board took Odom’s request under consideration.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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